Alumni Speak: Mohit Kakkar – Winner of SAP Global IoT Prototype Competition

Mohit Kakkar, student of PGPM Energy (Batch 2014-16), is currently working with Deloitte Consulting India Pvt. Ltd. and has recently won the SAP Global IoT Prototype competition.

We got in touch with him to know more about his achievement.

What was the SAP Global IoT prototyping competition about?

The Prototype competition was meant to give you an end-to-end experience of designing and prototyping an Internet of Things app for people’s needs. The top 5 submissions each won a brand-new Intel NUC Mini PC and $25 gift card which can be used to fund an entrepreneur on Kiva. The top 200 runner ups were displayed on the SAP “best of” gallery with their outstanding prototypes.

What is your line of work? Why did you take part in SAP Global IoT Prototyping competition?

After completing my masters from Great Lakes, I started working as a SAP consultant at Deloitte Consulting Pvt. Ltd. I participated in this competition because I am an IoT enthusiast from my post-graduation days where I learnt the fundamentals of IoT like Sensors, Cloud and various other business technologies. Since the digital transformation roadmap strategy of SAP got changed and they announced SAP Leonardo which was put forward as an innovation portfolio focused on innovative solutions running seamlessly on the cloud, there was no better way to get myself acquainted with the platform other than by participating in this competition and working on it in real time.

In your own words, what specific problem does this prototype seeks to solve? How does IoT provide an ideal solution?

We are living in 2017 and power utility companies today do know where a power outage has occurred, but they do not know what triggered that outage. Additionally, utility companies still can’t predict an outage and hence, they can’t take any preventive measures to stop it. On the other hand, by the time a crew member gets to know that a power outage has occurred at some place, the impacted customers suffer approximately 20 minutes of power outage on an average. Lastly, today customers have no visibility of their electricity consumption pattern and neither the electricity tariff that power utility companies charge them on a particular hour of the day.

Hence, the problems were many and I came up with a solution i.e. an innovative app which connects assets, control room operations team, crew members and customers/people.

Leonardo IoT Bridge provides us with capabilities to cut across various aspects of a power utility business model. We can monitor the real time health of the transformers using IoT sensors, using cloud platform edge computing we can store and analyse huge volumes of data of all the real time parameters; and we can also predict the future outages using machine learning algorithms. Moreover, we can also help the customers stay aware of their electricity consumption behaviour patterns by using smart meter data. Hence, we achieve increased transformer utilization, lesser power outages, and maximized revenue generation by monitoring the operational status and customer satisfaction.

What inspired you in creating your prototype?

My passion for IoT and excitement to learn SAP Leonardo framework inspired me to create this prototype. But to think through the complete end-to-end solution my 3.5 years of experience in Power utility industry and my subject knowledge which I gained at Great Lakes Institute of Management gave a head start to start this idea. Once the first draft was ready, the feedback and motivation I received from my mentor were a huge inspiration for me to build this prototype in an agile model, wherein I did multiple iterations to touch up the inconsistencies.

Do you plan to do further work in developing your prototype?

We have actually started building this solution in Deloitte. But I am eagerly waiting for the SAP connected goods portal, wherein we can configure and use the pre build APIs.

What are your thoughts on being able to fund an entrepreneur via the Kiva crowd funding platform? How did you go about identifying an entrepreneur to fund? Were there certain criteria that you used?

It felt really great that our hard work helped someone start their business. We talk about connecting people in the SAP Leonardo framework, but for all the winners to be able to fund an entrepreneur has truly connected people together.

Initially, I tried to fund an entrepreneur in my country, but then I found a lady in Cambodia who needed a loan of $625 to purchase a motorbike for her daughter to run her goods delivery business. She had received $600 already and I thought I should give my $25 gift prize to her and close down her request. It truly felt like bliss to be able to help someone so far away.

Read more about the Competition, winners and their prototypes here!

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Alumni Speak: “The two years at Great Lakes helped me understand the dynamics and parameters of management from all possible dimensions.”

Abhijit Panda, a student of PGPM (E) 2015-17 batch, recently got recruited as a Pre-sales Consultant by HCL. Let’s find out what he had to say about his Great Lakes journey.

Q1. What led to your decision of pursuing an MBA?

“I’ll have to start at the beginning for that. I completed my B.Tech in Electrical Engineering from CV Raman College of Engineering Bhubaneswar, Odisha and after working on the technology front in IT sector for four years, the job profile got extremely monotonous and devoid of any sort of real challenge. I wanted to go back to school to unlearn and learn new crafts. I wanted to understand various aspects of business that help professionals take strategic decisions. I also wanted to have a 360-degree outlook of the global business scenario around me. Hence, in order to understand various key aspects of business (Financial, Marketing, Operational etc.), I decided to undertake a formal full time MBA course.”

Q2. How did the two years at Great Lakes help you transform? Did you achieve your goals for which you wanted to pursue an MBA?

“Absolutely. These two years at Great Lakes helped me understand the dynamics of management from all possible dimensions. I could understand the strategies, parameters, regulatory frameworks at play which govern the entire business ecosystem. The intensive classroom teaching along with guest lectures by industry experts broadened my learning curve and the live project opportunities were really helpful for my preparation.”

Q3. Mention two key personality traits that you acquired during your Master’s?

“The two important and key traits were Leadership and Time Management. Being a student council member as well as a member of various committees helped me immensely in acquiring the above-mentioned traits.”

Q4. That is great. So, what all communities were you a part of?

“I was a member of three student committees; BPR (Branding & Public Relations), Toastmasters and CREST (Annual Management Fest).”

Q5. Mention three key highlights of your program.

The three key highlights would be:

  1. Diverse and Industry Relevant Subjects offered in the course.
  2. High-quality Mentoring sessions by Professors
  3. Live project opportunities to enhance skill sets and be industry ready.

Q6. What advice would you like to give to the future Great Lakers?

“My advice to the future Great Lakers would be to come to Great Lakes with an open mind to learn and create new dimensions. You will receive an enormous amount of support from everyone out here as well as ample avenues to showcase your talents. Work hard, build new skills, innovate, participate in prestigious B-school fests and be the best version of yourself as you walk out of the campus post two years.”

Alumni Speak: “What Great Lakes offered was a holistic learning approach that helped me immensely in my career.”

Abhishek Agarwal graduated from Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon, in 2016 and is currently working as the Product Manager at 91Mobiles.com. We recently had a chat with him about his professional life after graduation.

Here are some excerpts from the conversation.

 

Q1. What were you doing professionally before joining Great Lakes?

Before I started with my MBA at Great Lakes, I was working at IBM developing business applications in SAP for FMCG and utility sector projects.

Q2. It sounds like you had an interesting job profile there. So, what pushed you towards pursuing an MBA and why did you choose Great Lakes for your Master’s?

Yes, it sure was an interesting and challenging job profile, but I realised that there are limitations to how much impact one can have on the decision-making without developing business skills and perspective. Once this realisation kicked in, doing an MBA was the fastest route to achieving my goals.

The prime reasons for choosing Great Lakes, Gurgaon, were the one year advantage, world-class curriculum and the location. Also, a lot of hard work and dedication went into getting accepted in this prestigious institute.

Q3. How did the one year at Great Lakes help you transform?

First of all, I’d like to clear the misconception that one-year MBA’s course structure and curriculum is less challenging than its two-year counterpart. If anything, the one year MBA curriculum is more arduous in nature than a two year one, as you learn the same amount of concepts and fundamentals in lesser time. And trust me when I say that the one year at Great Lakes was so hectic and challenging that now I feel I can take any challenge thrown in my way by the corporate world head-on quite comfortably with poise and ease. Also, Great Lakes made me more of a logical and structural thinker, which is extremely important for my current job role.

Q4. Tell me more about your current organisation and job role.

I am currently working as a Product Manager at 91Mobiles, which is a Gurgaon based startup that helps people find the right gadget at the right price. My job role encompasses everything from product conceptualization to its final implementation.

Q5. Mention the key highlights of your GL experience.

  1. Enlightening guest lectures, unparalleled practical exposure via industry interaction and great faculty
  2. Learning and fun always went hand in hand.
  3. And most importantly, I don’t think I slept for more than 4 hours per day on an average, during my one year at Great Lakes.

Q6. How would you describe the peer learning experience in and beyond the classroom at Great Lakes?

It was, without a doubt, a great experience meeting and learning from the people of my batch who came from diverse professional backgrounds. It made me understand the corporate world from so many different points of views. There is just so much that you can learn in a classroom, but what Great Lakes offered was a chance to learn even from my batch-mates and it is this type of holistic learning approach that helped me immensely in my career.

Q7. What advice would you like to give to the future Great Lakers?

I would just like to tell them to make the most of their time here at Great Lakes as it will prepare them for the corporate world. You can learn a lot from the faculty and your peers, so keep your eyes and ears open all the time and learn as much as you can. Also, build a solid network as you never know when and where that scrawny kid or the school jock would be able to get you out of a mess or help you crack a deal. Always remember Uncle Bala’s (Great Lakes’ Dean Padmashri Dr. Bala V Balachndran) words, “Your network is your net worth.”

Alumni Speak: “In today’s fast-paced world that thrives on cut-throat competition, a Bachelor’s degree is just not enough to fuel an individual’s ambition.”

pk

Piyush Kant is the Director of Business Development at GCE Group and is responsible for the Indian and South-East Asian market of the Energy Efficiency Consulting Giant. He joined Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon, in 2010 in the first batch of the B-School. We recently sat down with Piyush to find out how the PGPM-Energy program of Great Lakes helped him in his career endeavours.

Here is what he had to say.

Tell me about your professional background before joining Great Lakes and also about what made you pursue MBA?

Piyush: After completing my engineering in Computer Science from Kurukshetra University and before joining Great Lakes, I was working with Cisco Systems as a Network Engineer.

In today’s fast-paced world that thrives on cut-throat competition, a Bachelor’s degree is just not enough to fuel an individual’s ambition. If you have a hunger to make it large in this corporate jungle; knowledge and understanding of the intrinsic factors focused on running a business and managing the people is imperative. This is why I didn’t stop after becoming an engineer and went on to pursue Masters in Business Administration.

Q2. So, why did you choose Great Lakes?

Piyush: I had a keen interest and passion of working in the energy sector and when it comes to energy, Great Lakes’ reputation is unparalleled and unmatched. At the time I joined the institute, it was Great Lakes Institute of Energy Research and Management (IEMR) – a one of a kind B-school with a focus on energy sector and its dedicated disciplines.

Q3. How did the two years spent at Great Lakes help you transform as a person?

Piyush: A lot actually. For starters, it turned a carefree man into a responsible one. I learned the true sense of empathy, the power and benefits of networking, traits necessary to become a leader were imbibed into my personality here, and most importantly, I learnt the art of learning from failures, how to overcome my fears and the thin line difference between confidence and foolishness.

Moreover, the institute helped make me a better person as it taught me that no reward is greater than the feeling of giving back/contributing to the society.

Q4. Mention three key highlights of your Great Lakes experience.

Piyush:

  1. Diverse professional background of the students that facilitated learning beyond classrooms
  2. Excellent practical exposure and personal interactions with the world renowned industry leaders
  3. Highly motivated, energetic and experienced faculty

Q5. Which faculty members/guest speakers impacted your education and learning experience the most?

Piyush: Although the entire staff of Great Lakes holds an extremely special place in my heart as I would have never been where I am today without them, but Dr. S.K. Palhan, Mr. Mohan Lakhamraju and Mr. BVR Vamsi (Powergrid Corp India) had the most lasting impact on my learning.

Q6. Describe the peer learning experience at Great Lakes in and beyond the classroom in one word.

Piyush: Can I use two? “Exceptionally Brilliant.”

Q7. Tell me about your current organisation and job role. How do you think going to a B-school has helped you in your career?

Piyush: GCE Group operates in the sphere of financial consulting, audits, industrial safety, energy efficiency consulting etc. It is the largest Energy efficiency consultant on the globe, headquartered in St. Petersburg, Russia. I am currently serving this organisation as its Director of Business Development in the Indian and South-East Asian Region.

As I stated earlier that I have done my graduation in Science from Kurukshetra University, grabbing this job and rising up to this level in the energy sector would have been impossible for me if not for Great Lakes.

Q8. What advice would you like to give to the future Great Lakers?

Piyush: I would like to tell my fellow Great Lakers that – Explore more about yourself, discover what you really want to do and achieve in your life and believe in yourself at all times. Then, start working on your dreams to inspire yourself and keep moving forward. Remember, there is no shortcut to success and there is no such thing as a free lunch. So, always keep working hard for your dreams, spot opportunities, grasp them and keep climbing the ladder, however, slow the pace may be.

5 hours and 247 pages: The Seven Day Weekend

5 hours and 247 pages: The Seven Day Weekend

Business team with hands together - teamwork concepts, isolated

 

Last night I opened a book and 5 hours and 247 pages later, the book had broadened my thinking. That book was titled – “The Seven Day Weekend”, authored by Mr. Ricardo Semler.

The best part of reading a good book is that the horizons of the reader’s mind get broadened and he becomes wiser than he was before opening the book. What I realised post this mini-readathon was – 1) I was ready for the scheduled book review session. 2) I got something to read which was insightful not just in terms of business perspective, but also helped me to focus on what I actually want from my professional life and 3) the approach I have had with me actually does exist in the business world and firms do exist and make good profit by implementing the same approach.

The primary reason as to why this piece of work is admirable and inspirational is that the author talks of having chosen employee happiness and satisfaction as the driving force of his business, unlike the more bottom-line obsessed business workplaces.

The author shares his experience of working at Semco (the company headquartered at Sao Paulo, Brazil), where he wants not just him (the CEO), but also his employees, customers, suppliers and community to be happy. The real motivation or the driving force behind a successful company is not growth, not profits, not power, not status, but Happiness.

Along the way, he asked himself, “If the workweek is going to slop over into the weekend, then why can’t the weekend, with its precious restorative moments of playtime, my time, and our time, spill over into the workweek?” The author then provides a roadmap to achieve personal and professional success.

The stressful and many a times overloaded workweek robs us of our passion and pleasure, it destroys family and community stability, and sets up businesses to fail once they have burned out their employees and burned through ever more manipulative and oppressive strategies.

The book describes how managers can turn the repetition, boredom and aggravation of the usual workweek into an environment that is filled with joy, inspiration and freedom.

I do believe that the old way of doing business is sprinting towards its deathbed, and the time has come to re-invent and re-engineer the way of doing business which could be more or less like the Semco’s way, aimed at fulfilling the central purpose of business. Thus, a satisfactory and rewarding life can be made possible for the entire workforce for their hard work. In order to achieve that, it is important to treat co-workers like intelligent mature adults by allowing them to manage themselves. This, as a business model, has worked like a charm for Semco and could possibly be put to use at any organization, anywhere in the so business world that wants to move beyond traditional thinking to a more democratic realm.

While highlighting how flexibility in work time and self-management by employees can work wonders to improve a company’s bottom line, it also narrates how self-organized employee groups can harness extra potential to bring about change in productivity just by eliminating time lags. The book supports encouraging employees to rely on their own intuition and use it in the workplace with a combination of reasoning and experience to reach a decision.

The book is full of stories from Semco’s everyday existence and is a joy to read. Time and again these stories illustrate that one must not opt for the easy way out.

On one hand, it is a thought-provoking guidebook that reveals how freedom and happiness can lead a business to success. On the other, it is an easy, fun to read book as it shares the day to day experiences at the workplace. Also, it is 100% free of MBA-jargons.

Author : Kinshuk Chaturvedi

PGPM Class of 2017, Great Lakes

Alumni Speak: ‘Don’t stop when you are tired. Stop only when you are done!’

Great-Lakes-Gurgaon-AlumniSANA QAMAR INTERVIEWED SANJAY SIROHI, PGPM GURGAON CLASS OF 2014 STUDENT. SANJAY IS WORKING AS AN ASSOCIATE CONSULTANT WITH MAVERIC SYSTEMS LTD. – AN IT SERVICES FIRM BASED OUT OF CHENNAI THAT OPERATES IN 3 DOMAINS VIZ. BANKING AND FINANCIAL SERVICES, TELECOM AND INSURANCE.

How did you benefit from the PGPM course offered by Great Lakes?

SANJAY: Great Lakes provided me a platform to learn about many dimensions of business – management skills, business ethics and what not. But most importantly, it helped me improve myself exponentially – both in professional and personal aspects. Like any other batch in such a program, our batch was a fine blend of students from different domains (Yes, IT ruled… again). I believe it is imperative to accommodate such a mix to enable us to learn from each other while we are on the go. I met some really inspiring people in my batch, who I am sure will become big names in their respective industries some years from now. Then, undoubtedly the faculty! With some truly renowned names of the management education system in India teaching us, I couldn’t have asked for more. From the antics of Bappa Sir to the textbook teaching style of Dr. Das, from the in-house group of scholars to the external faculty / industry speakers – we had it all! Not to forget the living legend himself, Uncle Bala kept visiting us every now and then for a pep talk! I was able to build a very strong network of people during that one year – thanks to Great Lakes! I realized the importance and utility of a good network only after coming to Great Lakes. As Uncle Bala always says, “Your network is your net worth”.

What is your current role?

SANJAY: I am a Business Analyst in the Banking and Financial Services domain, predominantly servicing clients in the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) market areas. My key responsibilities include facilitating stakeholder meetings to elicit project requirements, performing gap analysis to define project scope, designing a plan to achieve the project goals and managing the requirements for the end-to-end delivery. I have been a part of 2 projects on Islamic Banking so far in the organization.

What was your live project and how did you get it?

SANJAY: I did a live project for Pro Activ Foods Limited, an FMCG firm in New Delhi. The project objective was to increase the online sales of their food products. As a team of 3 members, we tried to analyze the factors that influence the category selection in e-commerce.

Give us some insights on the industry you are in.

SANJAY: Over the years, Management Consulting has become extremely important for businesses to achieve superlative performance. Every organization longs for a sustainable efficiency improvement for long term success. To be a part of this industry, one must know the basics of business really well. Enterprises across the globe are trying to look for opportunities/areas of improvement that would help them in enhancing their business in more than one ways – solve issues, create value, maximize growth and improve business performance. To be an independent advisor, you need to be always on your toes and capable enough of providing alternatives to cater to the client needs as you are considered to be an expert brought on board for (presumably valuable) external advice. One must be mentally prepared to operate with agility to win in this dynamic business environment.

How did you plan and prepare yourself during the 1 year at Great Lakes to arrive at your desired job/role?

SANJAY: I knew exactly where I wanted to see myself a year down the line. To be precise, it was the management consulting job profile. Since ours was the first batch wherein ‘Analytics’ was introduced as a stream, I thought of being ahead of the curve. I had absolutely no knowledge of ‘Finance’, but thanks thanks to some wonderful teachers at GLIM, I developed a keen interest in the subject and took it up as my minor specialization (along with Marketing – which I believe is a must in an MBA grad’s profile). I was fortunate enough to find an extremely dependable mentor in Dr. Das early in the academic year. I was very comfortable sharing my goals/views with him. He guided me every now and then, and was instrumental in developing the self-belief in me. He truly was a pillar of strength for me during my stint as he kept motivating me to work harder and pursue my ambitions. He was officially assigned to be my mentor for one year, but to my good fortune is a mentor for life. Based on the feedback of the Placement Committee, the faculty members and a couple of Alums, I figured out the top 3 companies I need to focus on during the campus placements. As luck would have it, I managed to clear the first one that came in for recruitment.

Please share your valuable insights for PGPM, batch of 2016.

SANJAY: Some of the key points to remember are:

  • Know where you want to be. Nothing should deter you from this stance. Be adamant about it.
  • Figure out a specialization in line with the kind of role you want to opt for.
  • Keep performing a status check of where you are and where you want to be. I suggest you to do it after every term – it is a rather good time for retrospection.
  • Prioritize the companies you want to target. Appearing for every interview coming your way is not a good approach to find a relevant job.
  • Read extensively about the company coming in for campus placement. You should be able to talk about the company for at least 5 minutes with any CXO level personnel.
  • It is important to understand what role the company has to offer to you. And it is equally important to identify what you have to offer to the company, and communicate how you seem fit.
  • Don’t stop when you are tired. Stop only when you are done!

-SANA QAMAR

Samurais, PGPM Gurgaon Class of 2016